Sometimes the overwhelming shoddiness of Tajikistan strikes me.
Finish painting (see below)? Nah. Finish paving (see above)? Nope.
It’s impressive when a hole in the road manages to swallow a decent-sized chunk of truck. It is even more impressive when this happens within sight of the so-called “Palace of Nations,” the president-decreed and Orwell-named monstrosity that resulted in the razing of an entire neighborhood. Sure, let’s spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a gauche eyesore that looks like Versailles as designed by Imelda Marcos that no one even uses. Let’s do this while people in the countryside starve, huddled in their dark, mud brick hovels. But to not even bother to pave the road a couple hundred feet from the gates of said “palace” and across the street from the KGB headquarters? Well, that’s just laziness.
Actually, I probably shouldn’t rule out ineptitude. It is entirely possible that this road was paved relatively recently, but that that workmanship was so bad that it just disintegrated post-haste. Living around civil engineers for years at university didn’t teach me what subsidence means; within weeks in Tajikistan I couldn’t help but learn what it means, as I traveled over road after sunken road that were sinking due to poor engineering. I googled potential ways to avoid this in about 0.45 seconds, but why bother when you can just let the road fall apart, right?
There’s lots to love about this odd, little obscure mountainous country. The inability to make things work ain’t one of them.
A SIDE NOTE: According to the VOA, among others, there was a significant earthquake in the Vanch district of Tajikistan, about 400 km from Dushanbe. If my friends who read about the earthquake from abroad hadn’t asked if I was okay, I wouldn’t have known a thing about it. We didn’t feel a thing in Dushanbe. Luckily, it doesn’t appear anyone was killed in this latest quake.